Frank Browne A Life Through the Lens
Authors: David Davison, Edwin Davison
Publisher/Date: Yale University Press (c. 2014)
Format/Condition: New oblong hardcover book with dust jacket in Fine condition. 224 pages. Dimensions: 9.75 x 8.95 x 0.85 inches. Profusely illustrated in black-and-white.
Description: Born in Cork, Ireland, Frank Browne (1880–1960) was a quietly extraordinary man. Briefly famous as the photographer who captured some 80 images aboard the Titanic on the first leg of her fateful maiden voyage, he was a distinguished Jesuit priest, joining the Irish Guards as an army chaplain in World War I, winning medals from Britain, France, and Belgium for his unflinching bravery, and later becoming a world traveler, visiting Europe, Egypt, Yemen, Ceylon, and Australia. Yet as much as any of these, Father Browne was a gifted photographer, receiving his first camera at the age of 17 and going on to shoot more than 40,000 photos in his lifetime—though it was not until the discovery, 25 years after his death, of a large trunk packed with negatives and prints that he received international recognition for his remarkable achievement.
The overwhelming impression from this generous collection of 220 tritone images is their humanity. Browne was clearly a man who loved and connected with people, resulting in numerous portraits of everyday Irishmen and women at work and at play. These photos span the first half of the 20th century, with images of the Titanic and from the front lines of the war as well as street scenes and architectural studies, and photos of vehicles and travel, the seaside, boating, and farm life—and everywhere, the people who inhabited these places and gave them life. Dublin-based photographers David and Edwin Davison have been responsible for the conservation and cataloguing of Father Browne's original negatives, and with Colin Ford and E.E. O'Donnell provide a fitting introduction to this important collection.